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IT as a Differentiator


Over two decades ago, most executives despised computers and depicted them as proletarian tools (especially calculators and typewriters). These devices were best relegated for the low-level employees such as technicians, secretaries, and analysts...Read More


~Posted on Apr 2019

IT as a Differentiator

Over two decades ago, most executives despised co...

Over two decades ago, most executives despised computers and depicted them as proletarian tools (especially calculators and typewriters). These devices were best relegated for the low-level employees such as technicians, secretaries, and analysts. Executives would rarely touch a keyboard; much less accommodate IT into their strategic thinking. Today, this aspect has completely changed, and chief executives routinely incorporate IT and utilize its strategic value to gain a competitive edge especially about the “digitization” of their business models. Most companies in the contemporary world have gained significant advantages through the innovative deployment of IT (Carr, 2003).

Having worked before in the food service sector, I couldn’t help but notice how IT was utilized in a myriad of ways to enhance services and maximize productivity. IT has helped the sector run more efficiently in so many ways that range from information access and storage to ordering and inventory. In fact, studies show that 78% of schools strongly agree that IT has made the job of employees easier while 92% of school operators strongly agree that IT has a positive impact on their food service departments ("The impact of technology on foodservice", 2014).

Nicholas Carr in his article “IT doesn’t matter” reveals certain concepts that I can relate to on issues regarding IT in the organization I worked for. These include;

  1. IT contains all the hallmarks of an infrastructural technology despite the fact that it’s more malleable and sophisticated than its predecessors. IT’s mix of characteristics guarantees rapid commoditization. Moreover, it’s a transport mechanism since it can carry and relay digital information i.e. Domino’s Pizza mobile ordering app that will convey information on orders and bills (Tice, 2012)
  2. IT is highly replicable. A byte of data is a perfect commodity that can be reproduced perpetually at virtually no cost. The near-infinite scalability of most IT functions, when integrated with technical standardization, propels most proprietary applications to economic obsolescence. Instead of an organization developing their own applications, they can as well purchase ready-made world-class applications for a fraction of the cost
  3. There are numerous operational risks associated with IT in the food service sector among others. These include; service outages, technical glitches, unreliable partners, obsolescence, security breaches and even terrorism. These impediments can easily paralyze an organization not to mention ruining its reputation, and therefore there’s need for companies to come up with measures to mitigate these risks.

It’s apparent that most organizations today can identify with Carr’s ideas than the time he first wrote it in 2003. The reason for this would be that currently, the ubiquity and potency, as well as its strategic value of IT, have intensified and organizations are experiencing the “future” of IT that was promised to them.

 

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